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Old Oct 01, 2012, 03:40 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
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The Hubsan X4 review thread

X4 Review


Introduction
The X4 is the smallest quadcopter currently available in the ready-to-fly form. There was a lot of excitement when we first saw its aerodynamic canopy... “sexy” was used to describe it by many and I certainly agree. Talks about it haven't stopped since, and with the arrival of Banggood's first batch of 30 aircraft (28 for the customers and 2 test units), people will hopefully start receiving them soon. This review is written for the purpose of helping potential buyers decide if the X4 is a worthy addition to their fleet.

Specs:
Size: 60 x 60mm
Motor (x4): Coreless Motor
Frequency: 2.4GHz
Voltage: 3.7V
Battery: 240mAh Li-Po Battery
Flight time: above 9 minutes
Charging time:30 minutes
***Features a 6 axis system with adjustable sensitivity***


From the box

The X4 arrived well packaged from Banggood and I really like the box design. The quad, along with all the other bits and pieces, were very well protected and arrived without a scratch. I expected some spare propellers to be included in the package but there aren't any...so I would recommend buying a few sets of spare props with your order.




Contents:
1X X4 quadcopter
1X 4 Channel 2.4GHz transmitter
1X 3.7V 240mah battery
1X USB Charger
1X Instruction manual





Transmitter and functions
The X4's transmitter is a 4 channel 2.4GHz unit that features dual rates and independently adjustable channel sensitivity. Unfortunately, the protocol Hubsan uses is proprietary, meaning that you cannot use any transmitter other than ones made by the company. That said, the X4's transmitter actually feels very comfortable to hold and the sticks feel surprisingly refined. I would compare the feel of the controls to be on par with much better, hobby grade transmitters.

Sensitivity on all channels can be independently adjusted, which I think is a very useful function especially for beginners. Dual rates can be engaged and dis-engaged by clicking the right stick.

Since there is no flip button, there is a stick sequence that needs to be done in order to flip. If you would like to do a forward flip for example, you must pull back on the elevator stick first and then push the stick to it's full forward position. This is the same for aileron AND elevator, you must first give it some opposite stick. I think this will take some practice as it doesn't feel very natural, but it does prevent accidental flips and rolls even when flying with high rates.

Lastly, I have yet to find out how I could switch from 3 axis to 6 axis mode. It is not mentioned in the manual so I'm assuming that it cannot be done. (Unless expert mode=3 axis mode and normal mode=6 axis mode, which is possible.)

Note: The X4 transmitter requires 4 AAA batteries.


The quad

I knew that the X4 was going to be small, but seeing it in real life, I'm still blown away by how tiny it is. That said though, the quad is very well made and looks amazingly sleek and streamlined.
With the battery in its compartment, the X4 quad feels quite heavy... It reminds me of the “wow, that's heavier than I thought!” feeling I get when picking up a die-cast model... . So I had immediate doubts about it's capabilities even before I plugged the battery in (but we'll get to that later).
There are 2 blue lights in front of the canopy that blink in flight and signals the bind status. Things I don't really like about the quad- the bottom of the motors are exposed and unprotected. Also, the battery compartment is very small without much wiggle room at all.


The RX itself is reachable by removing the 3 screws that secure the lower body shell to the canopy. All of the motors wires are soldered onto the board so it's quite hard to replace parts.


So, exceptional good looks but a few possible problems in the future. Let's see how the flight performance is in the next section.


Flight performance
Binding takes the blink of an eye, similar to the speed at which the Helios 100 binds. As soon as I throttled up, my concerns of the X4 being overweight and possibly unstable were quickly forgotten. It is VERY stable and has quite a bit of power. The stick movements were very precise and I feel I have as much control over the X4 as I do with the 8S/Ladybird combination (which is the baseline for all of my micro quad comparisons).

I've found that sometimes the X4 will roll if fast rudder turns are executed, meaning that aileron compensation is required to keep it level. It might be due to the stock rudder settings and I will turn the rudder sensitivity down a bit later to see if that changes things, but that is how it is under the stock configuration.

The motors seem to spin at a higher RPM (Found out the painful way) compared to other quads of it's size.
I tried to flip the quad indoors and it recovers very quickly, but as I mentioned earlier, the flip sequence takes some getting used to.

Outdoors, the X4 is a little hard to see since it's so small, but it manages to stay nice and stable throughout the flight. It flies as if it were on rails!


Conclusion
Although (spam) is a relatively new company, the X4 feels very refined and almost performs as well as the QR Ladybirds. Stability is second to none and flight time is close to 9 minutes. There are some minor nuisances, especially the exposed motor wires... I think I will experiment with a few modifications and post my findings.
Other than that, I think the next step is observation. After 100 flights I will post the comparison chart and that will show if the X4's durability is up to par with the others.

If you are thinking about getting a first quad, I recommend the V929/939 as they are easier to repair (everybody crashes). But if you already have some experience, then this is a great quad with un-matched looks and great performance currently ranking lower only to the QR Ladybird V1 and V2.

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me or leave a message on this thread. I really hope that this review is helpful to those interested in this quad. Please note that this is a work in progress, videos and more pictures will be added when I get the time to take and edit them.

Rank (subjective)
#1 RC EYE One/ RC Logger
#2 QR Ladybird V1/ Walkera
#3 X4(H107)/ Hubsan
#4 QR Ladybird V2 (Stock with Devo 4, tied in second place if flown with a programmable radio) Walkera.
TIED
#4 X100 (Mini Pet)/MJX/XinYuDa
#5 V949/WLToys
#6 V929 WLToys


***UPDATE:VIDEO!***
http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNDU3ODk1Nzgw.html
(Hopefully will be able to put this on youtube soon)

Pros & Cons
Pros
+ Transmitter: smooth controls and ergonomic design
+ Sleek canopy
+ 6 Axis system
+ Independently adjustable controls
+ Great value

Cons
- Difficult maintenance (relatively) and motors are quite easily damaged
- Flip sequence takes some practice to perfect
- Proprietary transmitter
- BAD COMPANY ETHICS

[B]Special thanks to my friend Aaron from Banggood as always, who generously provided this and many of the other quads for me to review.

I strongly recommend getting a few sets of blades because they do fly off once in a while but there aren't any spares in the RTF package.

Here's the excellent troubleshooting page Jim (jesolins) has come up with. If you have any problems with the X4, here is a good place to find the solution.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...2&postcount=30

You can find the X4 for sale here. (Banggood.com!)
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 03:59 AM
KDS450QS(ZYX4),V977,CX-20
FyreSG's Avatar
United States, CA, Monterey
Joined Apr 2012
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The X4 looks good!

Thanks James for the nice photos! How about some videos?
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 04:04 AM
KDS450QS(ZYX4),V977,CX-20
FyreSG's Avatar
United States, CA, Monterey
Joined Apr 2012
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Pirouette problem

Quote:
I've found that sometimes the X4 will roll if fast rudder turns are executed, meaning that aileron compensation is required to keep it level.


I experienced this on my V929, and ascertained the cause to the booms flexing while the quad pirouettes. After replacing the broken booms, it is able to pirouette nicely on-the-spot.

Maybe the X4 frame is not rigid? Vibrations could also confuse the gyros and/or accelerometers and affect piros.
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 04:42 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FyreSG View Post
Thanks James for the nice photos! How about some videos?
Hey thanks FyreSg,I will make some videos once I find the time to do so. The gf went back to her family's for a week so I'm short a cameraperson.
That said, I can fly as much as I want for the whole week since it's the national holiday here.

Regarding the instability, I only noticed it when I was flying indoors. when flying outdoors there doesn't seem to be much of a problem
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 06:16 AM
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There is no "6 axis" There can be only 3 axis, roll, pitch, and yaw. "6 axis" is an incorrect term.
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 06:28 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Navy Jet Mech View Post
There is no "6 axis" There can be only 3 axis, roll, pitch, and yaw. "6 axis" is an incorrect term.
3 axis gyro+ 3 axis accelerometer= 6 axis system is the terminology that these R/C companies use... (Actually they refer to it as a 6 axis gyro, it's even printed on the box of this quad and most other quads of its size that feature accelerometers). It has been discussed very thoroughly and we agreed that referring to it as a "6 axis system" instead of "6 axis gyro" is the best way to be more accurate yet understandable at the same time. I will post a link of that discussion if I can find it. Cheers for pointing that out though.

The discussion can be found here
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 07:02 AM
Step 1: Tear it apart
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United States, FL, Melbourne
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Thanks for the review James..........better than the V939 in your opinion?
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 07:40 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MassiveOverkill View Post
Thanks for the review James..........better than the V939 in your opinion?
I don't actually own the 939 so I can't comment on whether it's better or not, but it is definitely more refined than the 929 and the X100. I can fly as precisely with this quad as I can with the V1/V2...which is really amazing because the V1/V2's performance is very hard to beat.
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 08:09 AM
Ain't crashing often anymore
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Germany, Berlin
Joined Jun 2012
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Thanks James for your excellent review.
Now I'm more thrilled than before and can't wait for delivery
-mike-
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 08:17 AM
RC Logger Support
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Good info. Thanks James. It's in your your pics, but you failed to mention the two led "eyes". I know it's just looks, but you have to admit that adds an even more cool factor.
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 08:47 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
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@Mike, Hope you'll like it as much as I do. It's a great little quad with the performance of something many times its price.
Please let us know when it arrives :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by jlcamp7 View Post
Good info. Thanks James. It's in your your pics, but you failed to mention the two led "eyes". I know it's just looks, but you have to admit that adds an even more cool factor.
I did! and they are super cool They add character to this little quad!
From the review:
With the battery in its compartment, the X4 quad feels quite heavy... It reminds me of the “wow, that's heavier than I thought!” feeling I get when picking up a die-cast model... . So I had immediate doubts about it's capabilities even before I plugged the battery in (but we'll get to that later).
There are 2 blue lights in front of the canopy that blink in flight and signals the bind status.
There are two things I don't really like about the quad- the bottom of the motors are exposed and unprotected. Also, the battery compartment is very small without much wiggle room at all. So, that means that some mods may be necessary to protect the motor wires.
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 08:54 AM
Step 1: Tear it apart
MassiveOverkill's Avatar
United States, FL, Melbourne
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The blue LEDs are sufficiently bright enough and viewable for night flight?
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 08:54 AM
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Turkey, Istanbul
Joined Oct 2012
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So guys which Mini quad you recommend for a newbee? Stability is the most important crateria for me as I want to practice as much as possible but also have fun. The question can be considered WHICH MINI QUAD IS THE MOST STABLE ONE SO FAR?

A moth ago I bought from HK Turnigy Micro with KK board it was so difficult to set it up that I ordered this famous KK2 Board, set it up not bad but I believe this quad is not appropriate for home use because with a couple of small crashes I broke one of its motor legs, glued it however as a beginner I can not say that its very stable. Later as a gift I bought for my brother v929 and enjoyed it so much (just after one day of trying I gave it to brother) It was stable ebough but I guess more stable mini quads exist. So now I want to have a mini one just to practice at home. Value is not my first criteria All I want is STABLITY and spare parts. So which one? V939? Walkera Lady mini? X4? Or any other?

Waiting for your recommendations.. Thnx
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 09:01 AM
RC Logger Support
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United States, WV, Hurricane
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jameschen072 View Post
There are 2 blue lights in front of the canopy that blink in flight and signals the bind status.
Haha, whoops. Sorry I missed it James.
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 09:38 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
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@MassiveOverkill, Nope, absolutely not. They are very tiny and dim LEDs so I probably wouldn't trust it for night flights. You might be able to tap into the motor power supply to add a few lights of your own though... but the tiny blue lights are definitely inadequite for night flying.

@gur75, if stability is all you are looking for, then I would rank them in the following order: Ladybird V1/V2, Hubsan X4, MJX X100, V929. The Hubsan is very, very stable (no less than the V1 I reckon, but it is quite small and harder to work on; therefore it is not the best quad to start out with. For durability, if you get the V1/V2, buy a spare set of Mini CP landing gear and attach that to the bottom of the frame. That way the motors are less likely to get damaged due to hard landings or crashes.

@jlcamp7, no problem at all :P If the quad is waiting for a signal from the TX, it flashes the lights alternately... reminds me of the police vehicles back home. Love the quad to bits.

************************************************** ************
After flying the quad for a bit more, I've found a few more issues that might need to be addressed. First of all, the lower frame and the canopy are press-fitted near the arms and in a crash or hard landing, it pops off. You can easily push it back but it's annoying sometimes.
Another thing is that the rudder will compensate (slightly) your commands... if you yaw a tiny bit to one side and return the stick to neutral, the quad will yaw in the opposite direction...it's a very faint move but noticable.

The motors can become a little gritty after crashes... if it can't spin freely, push the prop down and the motor will function correctly.

Will update if I find more issues
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